59. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Comment on Arthur Burns’ Report on Sino-Soviet Feelings

Dr. Burns’ report of his conversation with a Soviet economist (Tab A)2 simply confirms what we have long known: that the Soviets are terribly uneasy about their potentially explosive dispute with Red China, and are pathologically suspicious of anything that smacks of Sino-American collusion.

We know that the Soviets are in a nervous state of mind, but they apparently feel they need security more than they need friends—one piece of evidence being their brutal suppression of nascent liberalism in Czechoslovakia.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 710, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. IV. Limited Official Use. Sent for information.
  2. Tab A is attached but not printed. On June 13, Burns wrote a memorandum to President Nixon describing his luncheon meeting with Anatoly Shapiro, a Russian economist at the Institute of World Economics in Moscow. Burns reported Shapiro’s fears about the U.S. attitude toward Sino-Soviet differences as follows: “If [Shapiro] is really right that the Russians are fearful that sentiment in this country, including that of our government, is favorable to the Chinese Communists, this would suggest that the Russians are in a nervous state of mind and that they feel they need friends. All this is highly speculative on my part, and I’m merely passing on what I learned for what little it may be worth.”